The annual global Innovation Leadership Study just released by Capgemini Consulting and the IESE business school, based on a survey of 260 innovation executives around the world, find that only 24% of the respondents think they have an effective organizational alignment of innovation efforts. The study concludes that “the absence of a well-articulated innovation strategy is by far the most important constraint for companies to reach their innovation targets.” It proposes that “there is a need for innovation strategy development in a more bottom-up manner,” and “large organizations create so much distance between the executives and those that are tasked to innovate that a disconnect exists between them.”
Executives and senior leadership teams need reduce the level of disconnect between leaders and employees.
· Culture Inertia:
Employees don’t have the sense of urgency to adapt to the changes, many legacy businesses come with legacy mindset, the old way to do the things, lack of three elements to spark innovation: vision, passion and progression.
· Lack of effective Innovation Process and KPI Metrics
Traditional top down style of organizational structure may only encourage top-down one way strategy making and innovation process, it may not be effective for business to capture the disruptive technology innovation or emerging marketing trend, and missing the right sets of KPI metrics may further discourage the innovation effort and influence.
2. Choice with Guidelines
· Innovative Leadership Team
“The spirit of organization is from Top” ~Peter Drucker, the innovative leadership team may set the right tone to lead enterprise wide innovation management. The innovative leadership team should well mix the innovator personas: movers and shakers, the thought leaders, critical thinkers, experimenters, reframers, in order to inspire the new thinking and encourage the new way to do things.
· Culture of Innovation
Employees will be motivated to see innovation via thousand of lenses, always encourage to ask 3D questions to spark creativity, and cultivate the culture of innovation
CIOs as innovation leaders may face the innovation dilemma, however, to overcome the obstacle, be audacious, not only craft the good innovation strategy, but also be the purposeful leaders to cultivate seven habits of innovation leader, to drive the business transformation and innovation agenda.
· Agile Structure to cultivate Innovation ecosystem
Innovation process doesn’t need be perfect, but should be easy to start, exciting and energizing, attract the “raw” talents, to capture the “raw” fresh ideas
3. Take Cohesive Actions to Implement Innovation
The study concludes there’re five key success factors for innovation life cycle management: innovation leadership, innovation culture, innovation process, innovation strategy and innovation governance. The cohesive actions may include:
1). Well align innovation strategy with business strategy such as business growth or cost optimization, well integrate people, process and technology seamlessly to build up the open platform for experimenting innovation, allow calculated risks, tolerant failures.
2) Well orchestrating the effective governance framework to manage innovation, yes, innovation can be managed to unleash its business potentials, and set up the right set of KPIs to measure the result
3) Amplify innovation project influence, to make innovation part of business DNA, either via formal CoE, Innovation or informal world of mouth, innovation is a journey, not a one time project.
When the INSEAD/WEF Global Information Technology Report was created 11 years ago, the countries with the most fixed-line telephones were the best-connected in the world. Today, it’s a much different story.
Evaluating 142 countries in the world on their “Networked Readiness” is no easy task – made more difficult by the warped speed at which technology changes – and the 2012, 11th annual Global Information Technology Report (GITR) incorporates significant changes in the research methodology.
“Revisions in the methodology this year meant that new indicators such as broadband access, have been included while more outdated indicators have been removed,” said Soumitra Dutta, Roland Berger Chaired Professor in Business and Technology at INSEAD, a co-editor of the report. “One of the key changes has been the addition of the impact dimension,” he says. “We realise today that technology is transforming lives, governments, [and] businesses. So we need to better understand and better measure how technology is impacting governments, businesses and individual societies.”
Other important changes to the methodology include restructuring the readiness pillar with emphasis on infrastructure, affordability and skills; and simplifying and refocusing the environment pillar. “Considering how Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) have become omnipresent, the focus has moved from access to making the best use of ICT in order to improve business innovation, governance, citizens’ participation and social cohesion.”
Dutta adds that while the technical metrics are important in the methodology, a whole range of associated variables and dimensions are also important to the framework.
The report, subtitled “Living in a Hyperconnected World,” uses 53 impact-oriented metrics with a special emphasis on the transformational aspects of ICT to explore the causes and consequences of living in an environment where the internet is accessible and immediate, machines are interconnected, and business and personal communications happen instantaneously. The Networked Readiness Index (NRI) – the key outcome of the report – captures the main drivers of a rapidly-changing ICT industry.
The top ten countries
The Networked Readiness Index 2012
Those countries which did best in the NRI ranking of the 142 countries surveyed in the GITR use ICT to increase competitiveness and effect changes in public policy to increase social well-being. And the top ten countries are Sweden, followed by Singapore; Finland is in the #3 position, followed by Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, U.S.A., Canada, and the U.K.
The NRI has been adopted by several governments as a valuable tool for assessing and leveraging technology for competitiveness and development.
Digital divide remains
The exponential growth of mobile devices, big data and social media is a driver of this hyperconnectivity which, in turn, fosters fundamental changes in all areas of society. Yet, aside from the top-tier developed world, a digital divide still exists. The BRIC countries, for example, despite improvements in many drivers of competitiveness, still face problems resulting from an insufficient skills base and institutional weaknesses, especially in the business environment, which stifles entrepreneurship and innovation. In Sub-Saharan Africa, ICT readiness is still low: poor skill levels and the high cost of still-insufficiently developed ICT infrastructure do not allow for efficient use of that technology which is available.
Bruno Lanvin, co-author and Executive Director of INSEAD e-Lab, believes that the GITR report can help to assess the state of inequality and allow governments to take measures to close the gap. For instance, the report indicates that contrary to popular belief, the internet was not at the heart of the technological revolution. “It has been mobile telephony,” says Lanvin. “It has really touched more individuals worldwide than the internet.” As mobile broadband takes off, Lavin believes that the internet and mobile technology will come together to produce results that the world has only imagined. As more people in underdeveloped countries gain access to the internet through their cell phones, there may be new opportunities for the poor to participate in the knowledge society.
Sweden: Why it’s No.1
Anna-Karin Hatt, Sweden’s Minister for IT, said that the country’s early investment in technology infrastructure has paid off. “This is the result of a long-term development that has been taking place in Sweden,” Hatt says. “Since the 1980s, we have had the development of true liberalisation of the whole society, and especially in this field.” She was speaking in Stockholm at an INSEAD VIP-media briefing held in conjunction with the release of the GITR Report.According to Hatt, it is not one single approach, but a variety of approaches that has led to Sweden’s success: “There are a number of factors, from broadband coverage, speed, liberalisation of the society, early adopters and consumers that are really interested in these developments and that are taking part [in them].”Erik Kruse, strategic marketing manager at Ericsson, points to several Swedish political initiatives that have improved access to technology such as tax deductions on computers which increase its usage. He adds that the Nordic region also has several major technology companies such as Ericsson and Nokia, which makes it easier for Nordic consumers to learn about new technological products and services. This means that there is increased competition, “which makes the market more palatable to consumers.”
Singapore: Why it’s not No. 1
Singapore trailed behind Sweden [again] this year. With its robust infrastructure, healthy fundamentals and a progressive government, what’s keeping Singapore from taking the top spot? The numbers clearly illustrate Singapore’s success in this area: 96 percent of all households with school-going children have at least one computer while broadband and mobile penetration levels stands at 86 percent and 145 percent respectively. The infocomm sector draws in SGD$70 billion in revenues and has witnessed a growth rate of around 12 percent between 2009 and 2010.“Whichever way we look at it, the gap is innovation,” said Lanvin at the GITR 2012 press conference at INSEAD’s Asia campus on April 5 via webcast. For all the ease Singapore offers with setting up a new business, obtaining licenses and instituting an effective legal system, the country still lags in its “capacity for innovation”. It ranks 22 on this indicator, compared with Sweden at #4. “This is what will make the difference…and everything that has to do with stimulating innovation, creating new services, new business models and new attitudes.”The Singapore government is all too aware of this and has adopted a holistic approach to tackle the problem, says James Kang, assistant chief executive of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). “It is a challenging task because if you want good innovation you have to attract the best people.” This means creating a local workforce that’s adequately educated and trained, and also cultivating that culture at very early stages. Among IDA’s education initiatives is FutureSchools@Singapore, a primary school programme that encourages local schools to adopt interactive digital technologies into its teaching curriculum and methodologies, Kang told INSEAD Knowledge on the sidelines of the press conference. There’s also the need for attracting and managing foreign talent and businesses, which entails creating not only an efficient business environment but also offering a high standard of living, good schools, and other conveniences that make it easy for families to relocate.
The rest of the pack
There has been a surprising level of stability among the top 10 countries in the ranking. The Nordic countries, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. are always among the most networked countries on the list. However, there has been some degree of change among the mid-ranked countries. Lanvin says that the most striking area of change was in the middle of the rankings. These countries tend to have dynamic, emerging economies, such as those among the BRIC countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Says Lanvin, “Those who have made massive investments in infrastructure, typically the GCC countries, such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the U.A.E., have moved very quickly from the 60s to being in the top 30. It is quite spectacular, but they get stuck there because competition is not yet developed, skills are missing, and there are other elements that need to be brought into play.” Lanvin says that if these countries are able to address the remaining roadblocks on their path to development, they could move up significantly.
Large developing economies, such as Indonesia and Vietnam, also have great potential. According to Lanvin, these countries are developing their education, competition and openness to the outside world while also weaving alliances with large companies. These countries, because of their large populations, can make a massive difference to the global markets if they develop their ICT.
U.S. on downward trajectory
The steady decline of the United States to the #8 position in the NRI this year is an indication of how the country is failing to leverage ICT to drive economic productivity and social development.Dutta points out: “The worrying factor is that the U.S. has been slipping over the last few years. Leaders in America have to realise that the relative slippage in the rankings could show signs of weakness or cracks in what has been until today, the world’s foremost innovation and technology hub.”Although the #8 position is a strong performance, says Dutta, it represents a drop of three places from last year’s ranking and a steady decline since 2002 when the U.S. was ranked #1. “This year’s U.S. ranking should be viewed as a warning,” explains Dutta, “which is, in part, a measure of the business community’s perception of government and their political leaders’ ability to cope with the country’s current economic problems.” He advises that “weaknesses in the political and regulatory environment are beginning to hinder the country’s overall performance.” This is borne out by the United States’ #21 ranking in this pillar. Dutta says there are elements of the basic infrastructure that are not as well developed as in other countries and this has to be changed. For example, there is a high burden of tax rates on utilities such as telecommunications in the U.S. and the administrative burden that companies face is particularly problematic.
Investment is key
The U.S. is better ranked in terms of “readiness” (#5); however, in order to further boost this pillar, efforts must be made to upgrade the skill set of its population (#32). Dutta explains, “I think where action needs to be taken more aggressively is in the area of investing, in particular in the level of skills”. He says the test is to be able to use the technology, not just have the infrastructure in place. He cites affordability as another weakness for the U.S.: broadband penetration rates are low because of low investments in both the public and private sectors. Broadband communications costs remain excessively high and although broadband availability is improving, relative to other countries, the U.S. is falling behind. “A lot of the infrastructure elements are not as well developed as in some economies. It’s funny to say but our research shows the infrastructure and mobile phones and other key technologies are often lower than in other economies such as in Scandinavia or in Singapore.”
Dutta concludes that in order to strengthen the skills and regulatory pillars, and to allow the U.S. move back up into the top 5, there needs to be a holistic strategy to invest in all three key areas: infrastructure and digital content; affordability and skills level.
View the report, videos and other information at www.insead.edu/GITR
Soumitra Dutta is Professor of Information Systems at INSEAD. He is the Roland Berger Chaired Professor in Business and Technology and the founder and Academic Director of eLab, INSEAD’s centre of excellence for teaching and research of the digital economy.
Bruno Lanvin is Executive Director of INSEAD’s eLab.
The seventh World Economic Forum on Latin America took place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on 16-18 April 2012. The meeting, held under the theme “Regional Transformation in a New Global Context”, convened a record number of participants for this regional gathering, with close to 900 top regional and global leaders from 70 nations. One of three key issues that the meeting agenda integrated was “Creating Innovative Models for a Sustainable Future”.
Assuming that Innovation is creating “something different that has impact” (Scott D. Anthony, author of The Little Black Book of Innovation), I have identified for this article some Innovation Insights discussed in Puerto Vallarta at the WEF-Latam. These are classified in the following areas:
1. Agriculture and Food: Latin America should look more strongly to define new models of innovation and collaboration for the production and distribution of food. Support and investment in agriculture for food production will generate an economic growth and poverty reduction. Innovative public-private partnerships, such as one being implemented in Mexico, will be key to ensuring sustainable food supplies for a growing global population.
2. SME’s and Entrepreneurship: Latam needs more Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) and entrepreneurship for growth and inclusion. The regulations should facilitate to start a business. SME’s need greater access to financing. In Mexico, 20% of SME’s have access to financing, while 80% in Chile. Continue support and reward to the Social Entrepreneurship needed.
3. Energy and Green Growth: R&D and Innovation in biofuels in 2nd and 3rd generation developing specific strategies in every country. Create and finance technologies for a green growth to long term. Harnessing low-carbon technologies and renewable energies, and decarbonizing the transportation sector holds opportunity for job creation and growth.
4. Global Trade and Investment: The route of growth in Latam is in Trade and Investment. For this is necessary to open the world, not close the economies for conveniences politics or business pressures. Reduce tariffs and make a successful negotiation or refine the free trade agreements. Take advantage of trade opportunities to high speed combined with productivity to be highly competitive. G20 Leadership is very important in this issue.
5. Financing and Development: In this area the focus was building infrastructure for sustained business growth and create jobs in the long term. Had the following Innovation Insights: 1) Financial Inclusion: a) Banking services to help people, that more people have access to mobile banking, b) Education Finance for avoid over-indebtedness of people and families, c) Financing for SME’s. 2) External trade financing. Focus in Service Innovation, when a product is sold the most important is the service, the time to reach its destination. The infrastructure in ports, transports and customs procedures should improve. Is very important to standardize the certifications of products that are sold in different countries.
6. Leadership and Education: The future of leadership and education on Latam is focused on creating spaces and environments to innovate in companies and universities. Call for collaboration and interaction between businesses and industries. Create better programs in universities according to business needs. Investment in R&D in Universities. There should be an ongoing evaluation of education to achieve its transformation. Increase opportunities for apprentices and students internships. Governments should support border internships. The world changed! New leaders know that listening is as important as talking. The Next Generation of Latin American Leaders need a sustainable vision and commitment, and must participate in social media in a responsible manner.
7. IT and Social Network: Social Inclusion is required on the agenda for Information Technology. It must move towards a digital education, telemedicine and remote consultation, finances online (mobile banking). The Internet, social media and other communications technology have become essential means for stakeholder engagement and for creating conversations between people when, before, communications were only from the top down. Designing identities of online interaction and new technologies for people participation. Moving from binary decision to democracy “megabit”, a participation online using Crowdsourcing, that support not only technology but to discuss proposal of laws. For example the senador virtual in Chile participates in discussions. The “people feel more accountable for their decisions than for the decisions of those they elected” said Cesar A Hidalgo.
8. Public Politics: Change and modernize the laws which are lagging in their design according to the reality experienced by Latam.
9. Metrics and Follow: Metrics and KPI’s was defined to monitor the implementation of actions identified in the forum. B20 Innovation: Matriz of KPI’s (dashboard) designed for follow the actions by country.
Latin America is stronger but still faces risks! If you want to know more about the 7th World Economic Forum on Latin America 2012, visit: WEF Latam 2012.
This article was prepared with information from WEF page, post, discussions, comments and videos of Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers: Soulaima Gourani,Felix Maradiaga, Lucas Simons, Sophal Ear, Oliver Oullier, Santiago Siri, Cesar A Hidalgo and Alvaro Rodriguez.
In a world of celebrity driven Twitter, “reality” shows and always on news, Andy Warhol was only partially right. We’ll all be famous for 15 minutes. Unfortunately some people seem to get their 15 minutes over and over again for all the wrong reasons. Luckily for us, however, most innovators toil away from the spotlight. In fact many people who are innovators don’t realize who and what they are.
Innovators are born and made. Innovators are people who have good ideas or sometimes just good insights. Innovators are people who aren’t happy with the status quo, and are willing to do something about it. Herewith, seven factors that will tell you whether or not you are an innovator. Take the assessment, but know this: anyone can be an innovator. Read on and I’ll tell you how.
Think a lot about the future. They wonder not about the next calamity, but what the future will be like and how they can impact the future. They wonder about emerging trends. They wonder what consumers will want next. Safety and security in today’s world doesn’t interest them. They are eager for what’s next.
Aren’t satisfied with the status quo. They are constantly trying to improve things – even things that don’t seem to be broken. They want to know how to improve things, eliminate obstacles. As Shaw said, all progress is due to the unreasonable man, since reasonable people accept shortcomings.
Are empathetic. Innovators can get into other people’s lives and shoes. They can virtually walk a mile in your moccasins. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are “nice”, just able to understand issues and challenges better than the average joe.
Are playful, in the best sense. By this I mean they are open to new experiences, are willing to test and prototype, and open to discovery.
Are stubborn and driven. If innovators don’t have a stubborn streak, then their ideas won’t progress, because many people will resist even good ideas initially. It’s not easy advocating for a new idea. Innovators have to be committed to their ideas.
Are open to exchange of insights and ideas. While stubborn and driven, they understand that the best ideas are emergent and based on the kernal of good insights and ideas from a broad range of settings. They are willing to listen, to absorb and to incorporate inputs from a wide variety of sources.
Want to solve real problems. The difference between science fiction and innovation is that while innovators joke about jet backpacks, they want to solve real needs and offer real solutions. Some of those may be incremental in nature – the next product release and some may be disruptive – the next jet backpack. But only if the jet backpack solves a real, important, relevant need and is viable and adoptable.
So, how did you do? If the profile I’ve described feels right, you have all the proclivity to become an excellent innovator. Don’t think you aren’t creative enough or don’t have enough time or energy. If this profile sounds like you, get moving. You are an innovator whether you like it or not.
If this doesn’t sound like you, but you do want to innovate, the great news is this: nothing in this list can’t be learned. These are a series of behaviors and perspectives that anyone can adopt. Stop telling yourself you aren’t innovative. You weren’t born with the gene, you build it from your experiences, interests and perspectives. Just exercise your attitude and become more open to the possibilities.
The new corporate mantra is Innovate or Die. Following these 9 commandments will help you staying alive. Teachings mostly from myths like Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Akito Morita, Roberto Goizueta, Thomas Edison and Guy Kawazaki.
1 – Generate Constraints
Generate constraints not by reducing resources but by increasing objectives.
It is said that Roberto Goizueta, Coca Cola former CEO, went nuts when showed a market share chart in 1982 that imposed Coca Cola’s supremacy:
It’s all wrong! We need to compare ourselves against WATER, not Pepsi.”
2- Take risks!
BMW dared to spend $25mi in eight ad films starring Madonna, Clive Owen, and directed by Guy Ritchie. The campaign was such a success that it got the media equivalent of $100 mi according to Eric Tong (@erictongcuong), founder of communication agency LaChose.
To introduce the Apple Macintosh personal computer for the first time, Apple released “1984″ a remarkable American television commercial directed by Ridley Scott. You must (re)watch it: 1984 .
“Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.”
4- Don’t let experts manage innovation
It is said that NASA spent $12 billion developing a ballpoint ‘space pen’ to be used in zero gravity by astronauts. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just use a pencil?
This is an urban legend that illustrates the main point. In fact, the space pen was not developed by NASA. Paul C. Fisher, owner of the Fisher Space Pen Company, spent “thousands of hours and millions of dollars” of his own money in R&D.
Feasible is different than useful. An useless innovation is just an invention.
Many engineers decide to become engineer because they like to invent. However, a good innovation needs to attend a market need. The main motivation of the person in charge of innovation must be pleasing the market rather than developing the best product or service ever. Invention is the mother of necessity and innovation is the extension of an invention.
Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have… It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get from it.”
5 – Seek diversity
Define very precisely the profile of people that match with your company and from time to time hire someone that doesn’t fit that profile.
Innovation requires new ideas and the best ideas flourish in a diverse environment.
How? Forbes study Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce, based on an exclusive survey of 321 executives at large global enterprises ($500 million-plus in annual revenues), can be downloaded here.
6 – Multiply attempts and never commit the same mistake twice
Don’t punish failure, punish the lack of attempts to innovate.
If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
Build prototypes, try your ideas. Innovation takes trial and error, the willingness to accept mistakes and less-than-perfect results. If you achieve everything you try, there is something wrong, you should dare more. In fact, to have an innovative breakthrough, you should start making at least twice as many mistakes as soon as possible.
Remember to quickly leave projects that don’t work, learn from your mistakes, and never do the same mistake twice.
The classic example is Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb:
I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work.”
7 – Don’t listen to clients, listen to the market
If I had listened to my customers, I would have designed a faster horse.”
I am struck by the interrelationship and overlap between lists of skills identified in the two articles quoted above and what Google looks for in its employees. The “DNA” of innovators might be considered a set of skills that are essential elements in design thinking. One cannot have empathy without having practiced the skills of listening and observing. And integrative thinking begins with the ability to ask good questions and to make associations. There is also a kinship between collaboration and networking. And what all three lists have in common is the importance of experimenting — an activity that, at its root, requires a kind of optimism, a belief that through trial and error a deeper understanding and better approaches can be discovered.
Putting the research together, some of the most essential qualities of a successful innovator appear to be the following:
curiosity, which is a habit of asking good questions and a desire to understand more deeply
collaboration, which begins with listening to and learning from others who have perspectives and expertise that are very different from your own
associative or integrative thinking
a bias toward action and experimentation
But as an educator and a parent what I find most significant in this list is that they represent a set of skills and habits of mind that can be nurtured, taught, and mentored! Many of us tend to assume that some people are born naturally creative or innovative — and others are not. But all of the experts whom I’ve cited share the belief that most people can become more creative and innovative — given the right environment and opportunities. Indeed, Judy Gilbert’s job is to continue to develop the capacities of Google employees to become more innovative.
Tim Brown writes, “Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need weird shoes or a black turtleneck to be a design thinker. Nor are design thinkers necessarily created only by design schools, even though most professionals have had some kind of design training. My experience is that many people outside professional design have a natural aptitude for design thinking, which the right development and experiences can unlock”
Dyer, Gregersen, and Christensen agree. In the conclusion of their article, the authors argue, “Innovative entrepreneurship is not a genetic predisposition, it is an active endeavor. Apple’s slogan ‘Think Different’ is inspiring but incomplete. We found that innovators must consistently act different to think different. By understanding, reinforcing, and modeling the innovator’s DNA, companies can find ways to more successfully develop the creative spark in everyone.”
So DNA, then, turns out not to be the right term, after all. It’s not primarily what you are born with that makes you an innovator — though clearly some people are born with extraordinary gifts. These authors seem to agree that what you have learned to do is more essential. Yes, there’s nature — but there is also nurture, what the environments around us encourage and teach.
But here’s the problem: It is often difficult in our society to “act differently in order to think differently.” To do so requires radically altering our adult behaviors. When Dyer and Gregersen were interviewed in a blog about their research, Hal Gregersen talked about the loss of creative capacity. “If you look at 4-year-olds, they are constantly asking questions and wondering how things work. But by the time they are 6½ years old they stop asking questions because they quickly learn that teachers value the right answers more than provocative questions. High school students rarely show inquisitiveness. And by the time they’re grown up and are in corporate settings, they have already had the curiosity drummed out of them. 80% of executives spend less than 20% of their time on discovering new ideas. Unless, of course, they work for a company like Apple or Google”
Gregersen is hardly alone in his views. Sir Ken Robinson’s recent book, The Element, and his TED Talks describe many of the ways curiosity and creativity are discouraged — “educated out of us,” he often says. Dr. Robert Sternberg, a psychologist who has studied creativity, agrees. He writes, “Creativity is a habit. The problem is that schools sometimes treat it as a bad habit . . . Like any habit, creativity can either be encouraged or discouraged.”
Autonomy, liberty, divergence are innovation drivers, but are they opposite to management rules? In other words, “Can innovation or innovative design be managed?” asks Gilles Garel in his “Innovation Chair” speech.
Management science is the way to lead a collective action, by setting up an efficient framework for teamwork. As innovation is a collective adventure, it can definitely benefit from management: innovation can be managed!
What are then the commonalities between business management in the creative stage initiatives, entrepreneurship, and innovation management? Are there some personality traits that are shared by innovators and entrepreneurs?
Innovators and entrepreneurs are leaders
As both have to drive their team to the direction of success, innovators and entrepreneurs share leader characters:
They rely on a granite-like belief, a persistant but not blind self confidence, that they turn into inspiration to their followers, committed and passionate. ”True innovators want to change people’s life”as Marc Giget claims!
Innovators and entrepreneurs know they can’t make it alone: they act as team leader, their time is dedicated to make their team rise the challenge, to develop autonomy, a self-initiative and risk-taking culture. Definitely hands on, true entrepreneurs and innovators foster the emergence of co-leaders.
Some take their leader responsibility very seriously, they behave as “humanist entrepreneur“: “Everything we do is about getting people to be more open, more creative, more courageous” states Jack Dorsey, Twitter cofounder and Square founder.
Mixing their belief with their role to inspire, entrepreneurs become storytellers elaborates Jack in the “Golden gate” video. Entrepreneurs and innovators are telling a story of whichthe product is the hero: “Product is what we’re telling our customers, presenting one cohesive story to the world. As CEO, my main job is editor-in-chief,” Dorsey says.
Sometimes, the leader is the best qualified, “handling an intimate form of expertise” as Thomas Paris, professor at HEC Business School, suggests.
Mostly, he distinguishes by his natural leadership, the way hesets the direction, a clear direction that everyone embraces, leading by his courage to face the unknown of creation and uncertainty of entrepreneurship.
They are the opposite of egocasting and fuzziness
There is some kind of “ego casting” going on in fake leaders and innovators, a fuzziness in the vision and direction set, and a hands off attitude: “I give you the headlines, you will work out the details”. As a result, they work solitary, like goldfish in its round bowl.
Some even act as innovation killers:
they don’t listen: they are the only ones who can read the future;
they ensure that only themselves are talking to the upper level, and at the same time, they short circuit team leadership;
they take the benefit, not the risk.
Far from tis, true innovators and entrepreneurs are surprisinglymodest, their cleverness speaks for themself. You can listen to them without being looked down, you understand clearly what they mean: it might be harder to try later to explain their concept yourself!
They care for customer design, and collaborative platform
Two dimensions of innovation management have emerged in the recent years that innovators and entrepreneurs have carved in their DNA: customer experience design, and collaborative platform.
Customer experience design is about creating a comprehensive positive experience for the customer with your service or product. Customers often do not want the product itself, but rather the effect that the product produces so sharpen the effect you’re looking for through design thinking, iterative loop and elimination of superfluities! Customer experience design supports product acceptance, turning early adopters intoevangelists, and sets the fundation for brand values. Before the start-up has secured a business model, it will develop the largestuse of its service: customer design is here for that.
Collaborative platform and ecosystem are about building engagement, letting others build value on top of your platform, thinking innovation not only at the product level, but also shaping a creative extended business model: a leadership platform. Innovation management and entrepreneurship from now on take action to include customers, partners, competitors, and guide collective intelligence towards creative design.
To unleash cooperation and refine customer experience, entrepreneurs and innovators willingness to seek the truth is the trigger.
One shares, when the other one sells
But innovators and entrepreneurs have different focus because their ultimate goals are separate:
Innovator is focused on creative design: he handles continuous loop from concept to knowledge through experimentation, expanding both spaces simultaneously. Gilles Garel explains how the Swatch design and engineering team once initiated a new wrist watch concept, had to seek knowledge in the plasturgy field in order to manufacture it; once the plastic weld, the watch could not be repaired: they had to go to the concept space, imagining a “zero default” operating watch, adapting the watch architecture, reducing the number of components, removing after-sales service.
Entrepreneur has to deal with a wider range of functions and tasks: one of those roles might well be innovator, others are surely about market and sell.As Zeke Camusio puts it: “They assume it’s possible so they shift their thinking from whether it can be done to HOW it can be done.” Marketing successfully your innovation requires a strong focus on go-to-market approach, stressing impact on one proeminent direction, perseveringly delivering faithful messages to a broad audience: customers, employees, partners, and shareholders. “Passion is really important, but you also need to make money”, so “entrepreneurs know their numbers (costs, revenues, break-even point, balance sheet and P&L) adds Zeke.
Both are disciplinedin the methodology prevailing in their world. There is nothing like a look at Jack Dorsey’s agenda to prove it better: “All my days are themed. Monday is management. Tuesday is product, engineering, and design. Wednesday is marketing, growth, and communications. Thursday is partnership and developers. Friday is company and culture. It works in 24-hour blocks.”
When roads separate
In the long term, while innovators use continuous creation cycles to rise innovative design and craft acceptance, meeting social imagineries, entrepreneurs develop and grow a company.It entails a wide course of actions including acquisition and merger, globalisation, diversification, reputation actions, far away from innovation tasks.
“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled” as for HBS professor Howard Stevenson’s definition, goind beyond the boundaries of innovation.
Innovators design an identity for its innovation, turning novelty into tradition. Entrepreneurs shape a company’s identity.
Everybody in the business world wants their business to grow and be at par with its competitors. Nobody wants to be left behind. This is the reason why companies hire consultants and specialists to aid them on how they can improve specific areas or process of their business. The process of searching and identifying problems and solutions is not made by one man alone. Almost all companies do this using a team of knowledgeable professionals. A team with varied backgrounds most of the time creates conflict. While some believe in this, others disagree. The argument between innovation and Six Sigma is not far from being one of the conflicts.
Innovation in its general sense is simply to create something new or to introduce something different. This could either be to develop a product or to improve a process. But not all means of improving connotes being innovative. Although Six Sigma is clearly defined as the methodology that aims to eliminate defects by identifying probable root causes of the problem, innovation is different. The term is vague and has no specific definition, which may be the reason why people can not exactly differentiate the two. And for some people the idea of integrating Six Sigma in the innovation process will restrain some ideas. If we look at the picture as a whole, the goal is to innovate and Six Sigma is a method that will aid the process of identifying both problem causes and feasible solutions.
To have a better grasp as to how the best practices of innovation can be utilized to optimize a Six Sigma process, let us go with the step-by-step process using the Six Sigma tools. Six Sigma uses several tools depending on what you want to identify and what you want to come up with. Most commonly used tools are:
Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
Voice of the Customer (VOC)
Process Mapping (PM)
Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
Failure Mode Effects and Analysis (FMEA)
Value Engineering Analysis (VEA)
XY Matrix, TRIZ method (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving)
PUGH Matrix selection
Design of Experiment (DOE)
Robust Design and
These specific Six Sigma methods can be improved using innovation’s best practices. Every effort to improve is an occasion to apply innovation skills and thinking. Here are a few example practices where we can incorporate Six Sigma (DMAIC) in an innovation process:
DEFINE – this phase involves identification and giving definition to problem root causes. With the use of the process and product analysis technique, one of innovation’s best practices, the fundamentals of CTQs and the XY Matrix can be easily identified and filtered. RCA is also useful to meet the requirements of the factors that are considered and make sure that the correct issues are concentrated on. The House of Quality (HQ) basics can be illustrated to Value Engineering Analysis (VEA) metrics to shorten and minimize stream analysis. Risk mitigation techniques can be easily identified with the help of concept identification.
MEASURE– the phase involves several Six Sigma statistical tools all used to measure current performance and to calculate final goal. Process and product analysis can be utilized to determine the restriction and performance feature of the structure to be measured. There are factors that cannot be easily measured. Identification of narrative strategies can be aided by the discipline of concept generation.
ANALYZE - this phase requires a lot of thinking and brainstorming. This activity identifies the system defects’ root causes. The phase also uses several Six Sigma tools. Analyzing parameter can be done with the use of (CTQ) Critical to Quality and (VEA) Value Engineering Analysis.
IMPROVE – after understanding the main defect, the process of identifying the method on how to eliminate or minimize defects start. Using the system of concept generation, identification of solution plan can be easily accomplished.
CONTROL – monitoring and making sure that the improve plan is strictly followed is under the Control phase. The innovation’s best practice can be put into place to avoid future breakdown and system collapses.
Regardless of the scale of innovation, whether it’s an incremental innovation, an advanced innovation or just a minor improvement, all these are just variety of value in developing solution generation. Innovation despite the pace and the scope is very important to a business which is trying to grow its core proficiency. Incremental innovation brings both long and short term benefits. Better margin contribution, increased revenue and market share, and extended product life are just few of the short term benefits of innovation. But what most organization wants are the long-term benefits. Since most of the techniques of the innovation process is engaged more in to creative thinking and does not require much of statistical analysis, most of the solutions generated provide short term effects. Using statistical analysis and technique of Six Sigma, the creative thinking of innovation can be paired with the thorough analysis of Six Sigma. With constant practice, innovation skills will be developed.
The faultlessness in the areas of innovation and Six Sigma does not guarantee the organization’s viability in the long run. Continuing success in the business involves the customer to be thrilled by unpredicted innovations. Surviving in a highly competitive market requires continuous innovation. Innovation is a product of creative action, not of analysis alone. While Six Sigma is more involved with numbers, wherein all ideas must be a product of meticulous analysis which is based on gathered data, innovation is different. Innovation focuses more on what would please the customer and what is not yet offered by the market. There were also instances wherein excessive concentration to thorough process restricts one from being creative. It is imperative that the team that will create solutions can balance both Six Sigma and innovation.
Not everyone is an advocate of Six Sigma. The well thought-out process and constant benchmarking may seem to be too firm but these are the traits that made Six Sigma successful. Innovation or even free thinking is not suppressed by Six Sigma. The process smoothens the progress. Many think that when you integrate Six Sigma with innovation the process will lose free and creative thinking. Totally incorrect! The one compliments the other with their unique process and characteristic. Innovation is more of a skill-based process while Six Sigma is knowledge-based. Combining skill with knowledge can bring out the best result. Several Six Sigma tools including the Cause and Effect diagram and the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) promote innovative thinking and team brainstorming. An efficient facilitator paired with a varied and creative team makes the ideal setting for new thoughts to materialize when searching for possible root causes or when determining probable solutions. After identifying an inventive solution, Six Sigma can be integrated to make the most of the solution’s effectiveness.
In 1893, J.R.N. Tata, the founder of Indian multinational company Tata, and the maharaja of Mysore met by chance on a ship sailing from Japan to Chicago. They agreed that science would be the path to successful modernization of India. During the following years, Tata donated money and the maharaja donated 370 acres of land in order to build a “science city” near a town then called Bengalaru, which had recently been struck by a devastating plague. The result was the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), which soon became one of the world’s great centers of science and technology education (and remains so today). In the ensuing decades, graduates established other science-related enterprises nearby. After World War II, the government of India located its nuclear science program in the area, and an Indian space program followed.
By the 1980s, new businesses began emerging there, including Infosys (today the second-largest exporter of IT services in India). Bangalore, as the growing city was now called, became a center of commercial activity. It filled with ambitious entrepreneurs and engineers, who used new, technologically sophisticated business models to serve global clients. Yet for all its accomplishments, the city lagged behind Silicon Valley in the United States.
Bangalore seemed to have the right ingredients: It had many companies and banks, both established and startup; a relatively efficient local government with ties to the private sector; a large network of nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions, and a group of renowned schools and institutes, of which IISc was just one. Yet even with all these conditions in place, one more development was needed before Bangalore could bloom. This was the dramatic shift by the national government in 1990 away from the all-encompassing “license raj” regulatory regime that had stunted Indian growth rates for decades. Once these punishing levels of government controls on business were swept away, and relationships between national government officials and new business leaders became less antagonistic, entrepreneurship reached a critical mass. Bangalore businesses accelerated their climb up the value chain toward product and service innovation.
The Bangalore story is not unique. The same scenario is found in California’s Silicon Valley, Shanghai’s new high-tech centers, Boston’s Route 128, Seoul’s Digital Media City, the biotech corridors around Washington, D.C., and the pharma region near Basel, Switzerland. Other regions, seeking to emulate the prolonged success and influence of Silicon Valley in particular, have been less successful; their investments have not paid off. Most of them pursue a formula that was codified by strategy writer Michael Porter in his book The Competitive Advantage of Nations (Free Press, 1990). They set out to create an “innovation cluster,” as it’s called: a network of interrelated organizations intended to jump-start competitive industries at a regional scale.
But many efforts to generate clusters never reach their goals. Innovation researcher and Washington Post columnist Vivek Wadhwa pointed this out in a July 14, 2011, column. He cited a Norwegian–British study of more than 1,600 companies in the five largest Norwegian cities, all of which have cluster-like qualities. Most of the companies failed. This, says Wadhwa, makes “industry clusters” the “modern-day snake oil.”
For the last 15 years, I have studied innovation clusters in more than a dozen countries. My own research findings echo Wadhwa’s conclusion. Clusters can be vitally important to a country’s innovation and prosperity, but when they are misunderstood, they do not realize their potential. Most efforts to create clusters focus on one or two elements: the heroic innovators who champion their creation, the co-location of companies that lets engineers switch jobs by crossing the street, the business school spawning grounds with professors sympathetic to their students’ entrepreneurial ambitions, the startups with foosball tables in the conference rooms, or the provision of cash from an earnest government funder seeking to bypass bureaucratic roadblocks.
I was recently invited to participate in the inaugural Intersection Event: Where Innovation Meets Social Change this coming January at Pixar’s headquarters where a cast of leading business innovators and social change agents will discuss ways in which they can work together to positively affect their businesses and the world around them. The invitation got me thinking about some of my favorite social enterprises, particularly at this time of year when our attention turns to giving back and the products that encourage us to do so. I have compiled a collection of some of my favorite social enterprises for you here and look forward to hearing about a few of your favorites below:
• Global Cycle Solutions: Leveraging a worldwide market of over 1 billion bicycles as a driver of innovation and affordable energy, Global Cycle Solutions hopes to enable micro-entrepreneurs to bring the service of pedal-powered devices to their communities to meet an extensive range of needs from agricultural food processing, to home appliances, to battery charging.
• FEED Projects: FEED Projects employs the sale of reusable bags to fight hunger and eliminate malnutrition throughout the world. To date, FEED has been able to raise enough money through the sale of products to provide over 60 million school meals to children around the world through the United Nations World Food Program.
• The Paradigm Project: The Paradigm Project is a social enterprise working to create sustainable social, economic, and environmental value within developing world communities. Their current project is a clean-fuel cookstove project in Kenya, and they are currently in the process of expanding into South America and East Africa.
• Made for Good: Made for Good is a consortium of like-minded brands assembled into one global community, sharing common goals, purpose, and passion. Each Made for Good brand aligns with a non-profit partner and uses embedded generosity to raise money through the sale of its products.
• Mission Measurement: Mission Measurement is a social impact consulting firm that works with leading corporations, non-profits, and government agencies to measure and improve the results of their social initiatives.
• The Glue Network: The Glue Network connects people and their favorite brands together to fund life-changing non-profit projects around the world.
• AlterNetRides: AlterNetRides is a website that encourages all forms of alternative transportation: carpooling, vanpooling, biking, walking, public transportation, and more.
• Treasure & Bond: The New York City-based concept store from Nordstrom has developed a retail model where 100% of all their after-cost profits go directly to programs that benefit people in need.
•Source 44: Source 44 discovers the origins of their clients’ products—their Sustainability DNA (sDNA™)—and transforms the findings into innovative supply chain savings. They also partner with their clients to help prioritize their energy, water, carbon, and waste reduction initiatives, helping to ensure they meet sustainability targets while eliminating unnecessary costs and identifying new revenue-generating opportunities.
• Plant With Purpose: By reversing deforestation, Plant With Purpose helps the poor restore productivity to their land to create economic opportunity through environmental restoration efforts.
• PatientSafe Solutions: PatientSafe Solutions is a healthcare information technology company delivering real-time mobile clinical solutions to hospitals to improve patient safety, quality, and satisfaction while decreasing costs at the point of care.
• The Honest Kitchen: The Honest Kitchen makes dehydrated, human-grade, all natural whole foods for dogs and cats. Their recipes are made in a human food facility (not in a pet food plant) for the highest possible quality standards. They adamantly protest puppy mills and give back to a range of animal-focused charities through their pawlanthropy program.
What are some other social enterprises you would add to this list?